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We will never forget this game in 1981 Thistle V Dunedin Technical - what an end to a season..... great memories.
The is the pre-game memories - it was an amazing time in Soccer in Southland and we all had great club spirit and camaraderie was one that will never be forgotten. This is what it is about the average bloke just playing soccer for the love of it.
The Diary of Soccer in 1981
Thistle took on Dunedin Technical in 1981 in a bid to win the Hertz Southern League Southern Zone. The match will be played at the Caledonian ground, which is Dunedin’s main soccer game. The club is hoping for ‘truckloads’ of supporters to hit the road and has reschedule junior games so they can join the seniors in this occasion. This was probably one of the most important game in Thistle’s history as if they won this then they would be able to go through to challenge for the Rothmans National League. Fred Simpson (coach) was well aware of the fact that they had everything to play for and it is ironic that it is the last game of a 17 game competition that decides. Fred Simpson has maintained that Thistle’s top scorer, forward Harry McCulloch, would be the key in combating the Dunedin Technical’s midfield which is very skilful and competitive. McCulloch with Peter Wild, and Mike O’Donnell, will be in charge of looking after the Technical midfield men. By taking McCulloch back to the midfield, Thistle is going to rely on the pace of forwards, Johnny Kolk and Trevor Nielson working also with Mike Kernaghan to penetrate the strong Technical Defence. We are looking at the fact that we need to be more mobile and we have to be accurate and put the ball into the back of the net. If we can do this, we are definitely in with a chance, Fred Simpson maintained.
Thistle’s weakness could come on the right side, in stopping Tech’s, White and Ryder. Down the middle, Lance Howley and Dean Baldwin have both played well along with Chris Mathieson who has been very very impressive in recent games.
The team undertook extra training and was expecting to be at full strength for the game. Paul Ferguson a Dunedin university student, and normally does not train with the team because of the distance to travel, has added strength in the way of a goalkeeper. Fred Simpson himself, had all the confidence in the world, but it is difficult to motivate his team and give them the belief that they can win this game. He knows that if they play their strength Tech will not get near them but it does come down to the state of his player’s minds. He needs them to show determination like Mike Kernaghan who ‘never says die’. He saw glimpses of this when Thistle beat Old Boy’s earlier in the season 6-2. After they dominated that game, they showed belief and were never going to lose to Roslyn the past week. One of Thistle’s mistakes, Simpson confirms is the fact that they think, they have to go out and give themselves, time to settle down, but Simpson says they need to start at the 1 minute and play determinedly right through to the 90th minute. He added that no one team this season has dominated the zone which has meant some excellent soccer. However, he was disappointed that Thistle went down to second ranked teams like Mosgiel 2-0 still rankles with him in the fact it was just one game they should not have dropped. Thistle can win this game and although up against a team that will exploit the weakest link, they have to belief they can do this.
What was the outcome…..Watch this space.